Quote of the week from Leo Varadkar: “The big difference that I find, going to other parts of the world, is that it’s much easier to get a ride, essentially.”
Speak for your self, Leo.
The Tánaiste was taking questions after the launch of his proposals on a residing wage when he was requested in regards to the scarcity of taxis round Dublin metropolis. He agreed it was tough to get a cab in the meanwhile due to the post-pandemic “snap back in demand” for companies. One of the issues right here is that there aren’t different companies akin to Uber or Lyft obtainable, he mused. As a consequence it’s “much easier to get a ride” in different nations.
He rapidly realised what he had mentioned.
“Yeah, er, no, no, to get a car ride. To get a car ride.”
But that didn’t sound correct both.
“Okay, I’ll do that again.” He deserted his reply and began afresh.
Perhaps Leo was nonetheless feeling a bit discombobulated by the expertise when he returned to the Dáil to take Leaders’ Questions, as a result of he tore into Pearse Doherty with extraordinary venom. Sinn Féin’s finance spokesman linked his questions on the cost-of-living disaster to a personal dinner the Fine Gael chief hosted the night time earlier than to have a good time a decade in energy.
“Cheap shot,” retorted Varadkar. That dinner was to thank former ministers for his or her years of service and there was no public cash concerned, he mentioned, lambasting Sinn Féin’s hypocrisy in criticising different events for holding home fundraisers whereas internet hosting €1,000-a-plate dinners within the US for rich supporters, with the social gathering chief flying first-class to attend them.
“That’s what Sinn Féin does in the middle of a cost-of-living crisis,” he fumed, invoking a picture of Mary Lou McDonald “clinking Champagne glasses” on her upcoming “first-class trip to Australia” to schmooze with Trinity alumni down underneath.
He was not about to take any lectures from the social gathering that accepted “millions in donations from vagabonds who live in a caravan” (a reference to a €1.7 million bequest) and is “one of the biggest landlords in the State, owning 50 properties”.
Aontú’s TD, Peadar Tóibín, who was a Sinn Féin member for 21 years earlier than quitting in 2018, advised the Dáil final month that “Sinn Féin has over 100 properties in the State at the moment. I would suggest that maybe Sinn Féin gift some of their properties to the State … People shouldn’t ask others to do what they wouldn’t do themselves.”
Varadkar’s bare-knuckle show on Thursday received approval from green-eyed authorities colleagues who discover it onerous to abdomen Sinn Féin’s well-honed ragged-trousered-republicans shtick whereas their organisation sits on an enormous property portfolio and is rolling in cash.
However, throughout exceptionally acrimonious exchanges, the Tánaiste undermined his indignant howling about low-cost photographs and personalised remarks from the Donegal TD by dredging up a 1999 court docket case involving a 21-year-old Doherty and fellow members of Ógra Sinn Féin who had been arrested and charged with abusing a garda on O’Connell Street in Dublin. This was in response to Doherty reminding the House that the Fine Gael chief was underneath investigation over the leaking of a confidential doc.
“You only got away without a conviction because of your age at the time,” harrumphed Leo, utilizing younger Doherty’s run-in with the cops to focus on “the huge number of convicted criminals” in Sinn Féin “and your wider republican family”, together with the social gathering’s recognized “attitude to rapes and paedophiles”.
Leo Varadkar had greater than sufficient ammo to throw at Pearse and his social gathering — which has extra skeletons than there are cabinets to cover them — with out having to scrape the barrel with the barely uncommon case of a younger Shinner barely out of his teenagers roaring abuse on the rozzers all of 23 years in the past. Isn’t that simply what they did again then?
Careful now, Leo. Given Sinn Féin’s rising lead within the opinion polls, Fine Gael’s acute exasperation would possibly begin trying like desperation.
Micheál achieves what Jack Lynch couldn’t
People in Cork might be forgiven for questioning if there’s a normal election within the offing with all of the sightings of Micheál Martin across the metropolis previously week. He left Leo behind to take care of the store and what occurs? He solely goes and will get into an unmerciful scrap with Pearse Doherty whereas the President has a run-in with a Nigerian bishop earlier than blowing a headline-diverting gasket over the housing disaster.
And when he was at residence, Micheál was ensuring not get dragged into any controversy — studiously sidestepping media questions on Michael D’s feedback and Leo’s fireworks — displaying the type of adroit footwork that made his late father Paddy a champion boxer.
Micheál recalled Paddy “The Champ” Martin throughout a go to to Cork City Hall on Wednesday, when he grew to become the primary sitting Taoiseach to ever tackle Cork City Council — not even Jack Lynch, a team-mate of his da’s on St Nick’s soccer crew, was accorded that honour.
Credit for the invite goes to former Fine Gael lord mayor Joe Kavanagh, and the temper was typically collegial and pleasant, save for dignified walkouts by veteran Workers’ Party councillor Ted Tynan and Solidarity councillor Fiona Ryan, who each highlighted the housing and cost-of-living crises dealing with households.
On his method into Cork City Hall, Micheál accepted a letter from Families Unite for Services and Support (FUSS), who needed to focus on the collapse in incapacity companies for kids whereas the newly shaped Cork Neutrality League additionally raised their considerations about jettisoning Irish neutrality. It was a household affair for Micheál, who was accompanied by his spouse, Mary, two of their kids and a great deal of relations. He was in nostalgic temper, remembering that well-known night time in City Hall when his father beat the British Commonwealth champion Joe Bygraves, in a struggle that had followers hanging from the rafters.
“City Hall in Cork has always been a special place for me and my family — it was here in the hall below us that my late father fought many of his great boxing fights, earning him the nickname ‘The Champ’, which we were always very proud of,” he recalled. “Legend has it that Bygraves later claimed it was a hometown decision — my father always denied that — but later on it was very useful when I was knocking on doors in Turners Cross and Ballyphehane looking for votes when I could say I was The Champ’s son.” Micheál reduce his enamel within the chamber. He mentioned Joe Boyle, father of former Green Party TD and present councillor Dan, had been an essential political mentor, first persuading him to run for Cork Corporation within the late Eighties.
If Micheál was in a beneficiant temper recalling the recommendation he obtained from a succession of former political heavyweights on Leeside akin to Danny Wallace, John Dennehy, Toddy O’Sullivan, Gerry O’Sullivan and Jim Corr, Dan Boyle was in equally beneficiant temper when it got here to responding.
Dan, a Turners Cross boy and a previous pupil of Coláiste Chríost Rí like Micheál, identified that he was additionally a member of the council within the early Nineties when Micheál was elected lord mayor of Cork, and he praised him. Music fan Dan, who has launched an album of unique materials, advised the Taoiseach that whereas he doesn’t bear grudges in politics, he nonetheless hasn’t forgiven him for failing to ask him to a personal mayoral reception for Cork guitarist Rory Gallagher.
Norris hangs in Leinster House
There was a stunning Bloomsday shock for Father of the Seanad and Joycean scholar David Norris on Thursday when his portrait was held on the wall in one of many busiest corridors in Leinster House.
It was accomplished final yr by artist Will Nathans and collectively unveiled by Ceann Comhairle of the Dáil Seán Ó Fearghaíl and Cathaoirleach of the Seanad Mark Daly.
Tradition has it that portraits of distinguished parliamentarians aren’t hung till the individual has retired or died. It took a particular ruling by the Oireachtas Art and Portraiture Committee (who knew?) after months of campaigning by Daly and Independent Senator Victor Boyhan for Norris’s bonce to go up on the wall subsequent to the principle staircase on the hall resulting in the eating places and the Dáil bar.
The longest constantly serving Senator within the Upper House thought he was coming in to maneuver his Protection of Built Heritage Bill however he was steered away from the chamber within the route of a ready hanging committee — not usually a welcome sight.
There had been a couple of speeches and the veteran homosexual rights campaigner was introduced with an enormous bouquet of flowers within the rainbow colors put collectively by flower vendor Mags on Baggot Street.
And talking of Bloomsday, EU commissioner for economic system Paolo Gentiloni appeared delighted with himself and his fancy new copy of Ulysses at Thursday after the Eurogroup press convention in Luxembourg.
Paschal Donohoe, who chairs the group of EU finance ministers, introduced all his colleagues with a replica of Joyce’s novel to mark the centenary of its publication. It was his little Bloomsday present to them, with every e book translated into the language of its recipient.
Bookworm Paschal has fallen head over heels for Ulysses since he ploughed by way of it throughout lockdown. Unfortunately, as a result of his Eurogroup commitments he was unable to participate in Dublin’s Bloomsday celebration, when elements of the capital turn out to be no-go areas for a day as marauding bands of middle-aged males in loud jackets stagger from hostelry to hostelry belching Burgundy and stout fumes whereas loudly declaiming passages from Ulysses in put-on Dubalin accents.
We hear the finance ministers had been thrilled by Paschal’s beneficiant gesture, however not thrilled sufficient to assist get his pet mission — a European banking union — over the road.
Fleming walks into an ambush
Fianna Fáil’s Sean Fleming thought he was going for a fast chunk to eat along with his spouse on Wednesday night time, however when he walked into the Members’ Restaurant, he was ambushed by his brothers and sisters and the broader Fleming clan, who had gathered to mark his twenty fifth yr in Leinster House.
“I knew nothing about it. I couldn’t believe it when I saw everyone,” mentioned the Minister of State on the Department of Finance, who was first elected in 1997 with the consumption of twenty-two first-time Fianna Fáil deputies.
Just three of that quantity are nonetheless TDs: Fleming (Laois-Offaly), Michael Moynihan (Cork North West) and John McGuinness (Carlow-Kilkenny), though we see that former minister Mary Hanafin, who additionally made the breakthrough in 1997, remains to be plugging method. She was elected Cathaoirleach of Dún Laoghaire Rathdown County Council on Monday night time.
The shock social gathering was organised by Sean’s spouse, Mary, and after dinner the gang repaired to the bar the place Senator Malcolm Byrne made an impromptu speech and the Minister gave a brief reply with the recommendation to all the time preserve your speeches brief and to all the time keep in mind that “the most important election is the next one”.